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USB

 

U’re Serial Bus Friend.

 

Universal Serial Bus, or USB is the de facto interface on almost all devices today. It is used for everything from printers, scanners, external storage, adding a second monitor, networking, interfacing with other devices, the list is endless. But it has not always been this way, so what changed and is USB here to stay?

 

First some basic history, USB was developed in the mid 1990s by PC industry leaders including Intel, IBM, and Microsoft. It was to do away with PS/2, Serial, and parallel. It was also to add plug and play, you could plug the device in maybe install a driver and BOOM done.

 

That was the vision, here is the reality. All the motherboard, and system manufacturers kept the older ports. Why well because people already owned stuff to use those. Plus at this time PC users were all using Windows 95 or 98. And Plug and Play really meant Plug and PRAY. USB was unreliable, no faster, and plus most peripherals still had “Legacy” ports. But then in June of 1998 everything started to change with USB. Apple released the iMac. In one move Apple removed all legacy ports and only had USB, so if you wanted to plug something in it had to be USB. Almost overnight peripheral vendors started making everything USB. Then over the next several years several things help cement USB as the de facto interface. In 1999 Windows 98 2nd edition came out it fixed a lot of things and helped make USB more usable. Not going to lie it wasn’t till Windows XP in late 2001 that USB was reliable. Also in 2000 USB 2.0 came out faster speeds and would work with all your USB 1.x stuff. It was really in 2001 became a true standard for almost anything you wanted to plug in to your PC.  In 2008 USB 3.0 was released also known as Super Speed or SS, and in 2013 USB 3.1 came out. Both of these were clear evolutions of speed, and with Vista, Windows 7 and 8 being built to work with USB, there was nothing it couldn’t do.

 

In the next article of tech times I will write about the various connector ends that USB uses as well as the new USB C.